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24-hour Picket at Lindela Repatriation Centre, Friday 21 November, 12 noon

Demands for the Closure of the Lindela Repatriation Centre

The Coalition Against Xenophobia is a broad coalition of civil society organisations, social movements and individuals who are committed to working against xenophobia and towards the improvement and transformation of our society.

We believe that the Lindela Repatriation Centre represents all that is wrong with Governments immigration policies. These policies are premised on the detection, detention and deportation of suspected illegal immigrants. They make the false assumption that immigrants to South Africa are not welcome here.

Lindela has developed a notorious reputation, and has been condemned by a range of human rights organisations including Human Rights Watch and the South African Human Rights Commission. The human rights of those unfortunate enough to be incarcerated in Lindela have been found to be routinely violated, and abuse and corruption is commonplace. Detainees are deprived of basics such as food and blankets, are routinely abused and beaten, and have even died whilst in detention at Lindela. In effect, Lindela serves as a prison, except that the inmates are not criminals and have not been proven guilty by any judgement.

Men, women and children are being held prisoner in Lindela because they came to South Africa in attempts to improve the lives of their families, or have fled persecution, war or civil unrest. If the government continues to treat immigrants like criminals, xenophobic attacks will continue.

Operating centres like Lindela is not a sensible or humane way of dealing with those who seek refuge in South Africa. Millions of Rands are wasted every year imprisoning and deporting poor people back to their countries, while thousands of others are driven to come here to escape poverty and violence.

What we need is a complete overhaul of Governments immigration policies. Immigration should not be seen as a problem, but as an opportunity to enrich and strengthen our society.

For the CAX the closure of Lindela, and all other repatriation centres is a necessary part of the process of changing government policy, and of showing our solidarity with those who are currently victims of it.

We demand an end to:

* The governments Racist and Xenophobic Immigration Policies
* Police harassment, arrests and the abuse of the immigrant communities
* Corruption by police officers and Home Affairs officials
* Racist and xenophobic portrayals of immigrants in the media that fuel violence and disrespect

We demand:

* The immediate closure of the Lindela Repatriation Centre
* Policies that recognise the positive contribution that immigrant communities have made to our society
* The free movement of all peoples across the globe and the abolition of restrictive border controls
* Full residential rights for all those who live in South Africa
* Measures to address poverty, unemployment, and the lack of social services

No One is Illegal!
Our Struggle Knows No Borders!

For more details:

Cassin 073 321 8387
Pearl 072 761 6804
Mhlobo 084 377 3013
John 073 178 1642

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